Saturday, September 23, 2006

Patpong a Red-Light District in Bangkok Thailand

At night, the streets of Patpong, a red-light district in Bangkok Thailand, teemed with Thai men attempting to hustle customers into bars. As I turned the corner on to

Patpong 2

one fell into step beside me. My being a female did not discourage him. He noted only the blond hair and blue eyes, which marked me a foreigner and therefore a potential source of revenue. Or, he may have just wanted to meet me, or if not, then to annoy me. Western women were still rare on Patpong at that time. Patpong Bangkok

"Want see Pussy Show Pussy Smoke Cigarette. Pussy Open Bottle. Pussy Ping Pong Ball Show."

"Mai ow (Don't want)," I said without looking at him. I hoped speaking Thai would impress him into not thinking of me as a tourist. Maybe he'd go away. He didn't. He continued to walk with me and held a plastic card in front of my face. In English, German, and Japanese, it listed the sex shows performed in his bar. In case I didn't want to read, he cited them for me aloud. "Pussy Write Letter. Snake Show. Eggplant Show. Banana, you see already"


was a tourist strip with bars next to, and on top of, one another. The women working in the bars were prostitutes. Bar work was only half the job. The real money came from selling sex. Polygamy and prostitution have long been a privilege of Thai men, but during the Vietnam war Thailand became proficient in serving up its women to foreigners. American military personnel flocked to the country for R and R, rest and recreation, which they called I and I, intoxication and intercourse.


The name Patpong came from the Patpong family, which owned a strip of the land that lay between the roads Silom and Surawong. Those roads made up the heart of Bangkok's business district. Contrasting the tall modern buildings surrounding it, the Patpong streets held dumpy two-story structures.


Though the Vietnam war may have boosted Patpong into the entertainmentindustry, Thailand's reputation as a sex paradise took off on its own at the war's end. Germany arranged cheap charter flights. Holland organized sextours. As Taiwan and Japan grew prosperous, their males flew in too. ManyAmericans from the war chose not to go home. The saying was that there were no MIAs in Vietnam; in reality they were all MIBs--Mischiefing In Bangkok.

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